Friday, March 26, 2010

No One Else Has This Info on The Copelands

The Rockville, Indiana Library is a great resource for Indiana information. Ava found this for me:

I found a Loyd Copeland buried in the Bloomingdale Cemetery in Penn twp. and they have his date as 9-7-1857 (no obit in the papers). Wife Barbara is also buried in the Bloomingdale Cemetery in Penn twp. and her death date is 6-19-1869 (no obit in the paper).
In 1853-1874 there are no Copelands who died in our records. In our 1875-1899 obit index, there are 3 Copelands - Andrew, boy (unknown), and Oliver. In our 1900-1924 obit index, there are several Copelands - John, John S., Malinda Ellen, Nancy, William.

WOW! this is information that I have not seen in any other Copeland family tree! Loyd and Barbara Copeland are the parents of my great grandfather Abner Copeland.

Thanks to Ava and the Rockville Library in Indiana!

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Thursday, March 25, 2010

Last Call for Photos and Stories!

hi Copeland kinfolk,
The end of March is approaching! I am almost done with the book "An American Genealogy: The Copeland Family of Montgomery County, Kansas". I'll be creating an index, putting in last minute photos and stories, and then proofreading the book. This is your chance to send me any last-minute contributions.

If you don't have a scanner, please feel free to mail me the photos. I will carefull scan and return all photos. Or you can ask one of those cute grandkids - they know how to do everything!

I think that once the book is published, you will be amazed by the amount of information that I have included, and by the rich history, in details and photographs!

I cannot believe that 2 years ago, I did know that any of you existed (except for my cousins Donna, Don Jr, Walt, and Katy). I did not even know that my Grandfather William came from such a big family. Many of you descendants that I hunted for and found feel the same way (if you were the descendants of the Copelands who left Kansas).

The book will let you see and get to know a little about everyone, and to know that you are connected by blood and history to an amazing and admirable family.

No detail is too small, no photo too unimportant, obituaries, headstone photos, secrets, and other histories are welcome!

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Saturday, March 20, 2010

Guessing Names

If Nancy's obituary was correct, then there were 4 daughters and 6 sons of Loyd and Barbara Copeland. I only have Abner, Oliver, John, and Nancy. So I need the names of 3 more sons and 3 more daughters.
As I look at the Copeland and Finney ancestry (since my great grandparents were Abner Copeland and Samantha Jane Finney), I notice that the Copelands did not give their children middle names, but the Finneys did. So I am guessing that Abner named his daughters because, they, like me, only have one name - Clarissa and Pearl. The boys all have middle names.
Next, I notice that names often repeat, so I am going to guess on the names of Abner Copeland siblings' names.
One of Abner's son was named Emery Loyd Copeland, so Loyd came from his father.
Perhaps Loyd named one of Abner's brothers after his own father Douglas.
Abner already named his own son Daniel Ezra Copeland, after his grandmother's father Daniel May.
James is another family name. Abner's cousin Andrew Jackson Copeland had a son named James. My own father's name was James.
Loyd had a brother names Abner and one named Simon. So perhaps another brother's name was Simon.
But what of the girl's names? Perhaps Clarissa and Pearl were also Abner's sister's names. Then, would Loyd have also named a daughter after his own mother Margaret?
I now have to find out a way to get this information. Do I write to the Friends of Orange County or Alamance County in North Carolina? Do I just plug in information about each name and see what comes up? Do I order records from these counties and view them at the local library or Mormon familyhistory center.
This may take longer because there is no quick answer.

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Saturday, March 13, 2010

Some Mysteries Cannot Be Solved Unless I Get Help

I want to solve a mystery.
I always thought that my great grandfather Abner Copeland only had 2 brothers - Oliver and John - and 1 sister - Nancy. Then I got a copy of Nancy Copeland's obituary, which said that when she died in 1909, she was preceded in death by 3 sisters and 4 brothers (one of those brothers was Oliver). The brothers still alive at the time of Nancy's death were my great grandfather Abner and his brother John.

By looking at the 1840 census in North Carolina, I saw that there were several other children. That census only lists the head of the family, and then all family members by sex and age. There were 5 sons listed and 3 daughters. That means that after the 1840 census, 1 more son and 1 more daughter were born. Some of the older sons and one older daughter may have remained in NC when the family moved to Indiana in 1850 or so.

In the 1850 census in IN, Loyd and his family are listed, and then Daniel R. Efland is listed. However, under Daniel's name there is a notation (in the file) of an 18 yr old male and a 24 year old female. These could be the unnamed children from the 1840 census. The young John born in IN is also listed on the next page.

Daniel's parents are Peter and Betsey Efland. Peter's grandfather is Daniel May, who is Loyd's wife Barbara's father. So they are second cousins or something. I think Daniel is married to the 24 year old sister that is unnamed.

I need to find descendants who know that Loyd Copeland is their ancestor!

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Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Where Did I Come From - Joel Stein's Time Magazine article

Joel Stein writes "No one is more interested in himself than I am. And yet even I don't care about my genealogy."

A relative tries to generate his interest in the family history. Stein sees that an ancestress wrote down her place of origin as Poland, and then crossed it out and wrote Austria. Stein says, "These are counries that don't even border each other. I come from stupid people. You know how I know that? Because I had to look up whether those countries border each other."

He talks about the two new genealogy shows "Faces of America" and "Who Do You Think You Are" and says that the stories are "fascinating, but probably only because she's a celebrity."

There you have it - not everyone is interested in family genealogy! haha

Read the full Time Magazine article here:,9171,1966469,00.html

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Where Did I Come From, by Joel Stein, Time magazine

For a hilarious take on how many people view the idea of genealogy, take a look at this web site:

Joseph writes, "No one is more interested in himself than I am. And yet even I don't care about my genealogy."

He'll make you l augh as a relative tries to suck him into the genealogist's enthusiasm, and speculates on the 2 genealogy shows Faces of America and Who Do You Think You Are.

He says, when he finds out that a census reveals that his ancestor said she came from Poland, and then changed it to Austria. "These are countries that don't even border each other. I come from stupid people. You know how I know that? Because I had to look up whether those countries border each other."

Not everyone is interested in what we genealogists and family history buffs are interested in. That amazes me!

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Sunday, March 7, 2010

Detective Work

It seems only fitting that the first detective came to the public's attention in 1841, when Edgar Allen Poe wrote "Murders of the Rue Morgue." His character Monsieur C. Auguste Rupin had an analytical mind that allowed him to observe details and come to intelligent conclusions.

A genealogist must be a detective of the first order.

It is one thing to rely on the internet and It is another to go another step.

First, I made all uses of the internet and I met and built relationships with other researchers, some of whom turned out to be not-to-distant relatives.

Then I hired a researcher through the Kansas Historical Society web site. Mary Jane did a fantastic job coming up with copies of land deeds and obituaries. Those obituaries gave me the names of descendants that were too "modern" to appear on public records, such as census and so on.

From those obits, I determined names and then sent out letters when I found a few names on the internet White Pages, which meant that some relatives still had listed phone numbers! Those kind relatives turned out to be even closer relatives - cousins to my late father! What a wealth of information they provided. Leads to other close relatives. Photos, stories, and more. This culminated in a wonderful visit to Kansas, where my sister and I met these cousins of my father.

Next, I began hunting down the descendants of other relatives. For one case, I just put in the relative's name, and came up with a genealogy message board message where someone was looking for that relative. That gave me an email address, and although the posting was from 1998 and the email was no longer valid, that email gave me the descendant's name. The social networking My Space web site provided the contact.

In another case, I came upon the wife of a descendant, and then their child. The child's name was on My Space, but she did not reply. Her name came up as an editor for a newspaper, and when I sent a copy of her ancestor's chapter, she and her mother contacted me.

A 1944 news article provided the names of children of one relation's children and their children. I plugged those names into my family tree, and an member and I connected, and her Uncle provided the names and addresses of those relations.

Everyone was always curious but had not known how to go about finding information. They were all excited to know about the Copeland family, and to be part of my ancestry project, as well as my book "An American Genealogy: The Copeland Family of Montgomery, Kansas."

A curious email to the Indiana historical society led to the Rockwell Library, who researched and found obituaries for me. From an obituary of Abner Copeland's sister Nancy (Nacy) who died in 1908 one year before my great grandfather, I found out two facts:
  1. The Copeland family came to Indiana in 1851, NOT in 1860 as thought.
  2. Abner Copeland had 3 sisters who must have died in infancy, and 2 other brothers who must also have died in infancy.
If so, Abner's father must have died in Indiana, not North Carolina as previously reported on another person's family tree.

The difficult thing about dealing with the late 1700s and early 1800s is that the Copeland family seemed to use the same names in their families - from cousins to cousins and so on. Trying to figure out who is who, is yet another challenge.

I love being a detective!

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Saturday, March 6, 2010

Obama and Most Past Presidents are Related....

At the bookstore, I saw a poster that said that President and all of the past U.S. presidents (except Martin Van Buren) were descended from John "Lackland" Plantagenet - King of England and signer of the Magna Carta!

Wow - it's pretty significant that a 12 year old Bridge Anne D'Avignon of Salinas CA and her grandfather Sam Wattles of Rosamond (who has studied Presidential genealogy for 60 years) discovered this association.

The poster showed that all of the U.S. Presidents (except Van Buren) have the common ancestor. How incredible is that?

You can read about the findings at this web site:

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Friday, March 5, 2010

Who Do You Think You Are?

Watched NBC's "Who do you think you are" show about the genealogy of popular stars in the entertainment industry. Tonight, they featured Sarah Jessica Parker. Sarah knew that she was of German Jewish stock, and because she knew her own background in that area, they didn't focus on that AT ALL!

Instead, they focused on an American with the last name of Lodge, who turns out to be important in Colonial History.

NBC's show is different from PBS' series "Faces of America" in this way. "Faces..." has Professor Gates coming to a well-known celebrity and presenting them with a book about their ancestors. He has done all the research, and visited all the places, showing them on a video - and then getting the stars' reaction. It's thoughtful, interesting, and presents history in a relevant fashion for all.

NBC's show is backed with a lot more money than PBS, so they can afford to fly these stars back and forth across the nation (later around the world), so that they can meet with genealogical experts and historians. They take Sarah to her mother's home in Ohio, where she finds out about an ancestor named Lodge. Then they go to Ohio and find out that her great grandfather Lodge had an father that died when he went to California in 1849. They show her a census showing that the man did not die in 1949 and appears on a census in 1850.

Sarah then flies to El Dorado, California where she is shown rubble in the fields that still remains from those '49er goldmining days. A historian shows her a letter from her great great grandfather's partner saying that Mr. Lodge and another partner were ill and had died in 1951.

When she returns to the East, Sarah goes to another genealogy expert who shows her that the great great grandfather's ancestor was someone who is named in a Salem Witch trial. She is shown the actual handwritten records from the 1600s!

Sarah goes to Salem and talks with another historian, who says that the year that her ancestress was accused of being a witch was the last year that witch trials were held. While 20 women had been executed in the years before her ancestress was accused, her ancestress was not executed and lived into her 80s. Sarah then visits the woman's grave.

For Sarah, the fun was in looking at census records, written histories and preserved letters and court records. These are the kinds of things that people looked at in the past, painstakingly going to the places of their ancestors, and later ordering microfiche and viewing them in local libraries or Mormon genealogy centers. Now most of this can be done online.

The show captures Sarah at each moment of discovery. It is the kind of thing that anyone researching their ancestry can enjoy. You don't have to be descended from a king or queen (though they will show stars that are). You can be descended from ordinary people, who because of the times, had a bit of their life recorded in census, history, and other public records.

When I began my search, all I knew was that my father's family were Quakers, Native Americans, and that there once was someone hung as a horse thief. Well, the Copelands were most certainly descended from "Earless" John Copeland, a Quaker martyr who had his ear ripped from his head for refusing to give up his Quaker beliefs. My father's grandmother Samantha Jane Finney's grandmother was Polly Long - a Cherokee who lost her parents during the infamous "Trail of Tears March." As for that horse thief, I never found him. Although, I did find a very, very distant Copeland cousin of my father's grandfather Abner Copeland. James Copeland had the same name as my father. He was an outlaw in the Alabama and Louisiana area, and most certainly was hung for his crimes.

Sarah asks "why didn't anyone write this down" when she thinks about her family history. Until my grandfather's generation, most certainly all the family history was passed down through the oral story telling generation. My grandfather's generation moved so quickly from a horse'n'buggy time, where family was the core of one's life, to a fast paced one that encompassed two World Wars, electricity, and all the 'modern' conveniences. During that time, the oral tradition was lost.

Progress isn't all bad, as I found in my research. The internet was my best friend and the source of most of my research, as well as the tool that allowed me to connect with the descendants of my Grandfather's siblings.

Watching "Who Do You Think You Are?" reinforced my enjoyment in genealogy and all that researching my own family tree has brought me!

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Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Faces of America - what happened?

My local t.v. listings said that "Faces of America" would be on the PBS station at 8 pm tonight. I was all set and ready to watch the show, and then, there was nothing! Oh yes, the public television shows were broadcasting - but they were showing Celtic music on one channel, Victor Borge on another, and Cosmic studies on the last. There I was, "all dressed up and no where to go."

I have ordered the series from Netflix, and I suppose I'll have to wait till April to watch the show. In the meantime, I have been watching excerpts online, and the show looks fascinating.

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Revealing a Family Secret

If there is no trace of an incident, I suppose a family secret can be lost forever. If it's particularly scandalous or important, there might be stories told. When I found a news clipping of a legal notice, it aroused my curiosity. Ezra Copeland was never married according to my research. The notice said otherwise. In the notice, there was the unnamed (unknown) wife of Ezra Copeland. So I began hunting around.

From this notice, I gathered stories from the living Copelands. I then tracked down other members of the family because they were named in the lawsuit.

I found out that Ezra did bring home a wife and her son. The woman wanted money, and she got it and went away. But she must have wanted more money because Ezra tried to sell his share of the farm. The buyer forced a sale of the land so that he could get 'fair market value.' Ezra's brother Emery bought the farm at auction, paying off the man who bought Ezra's share, and presumably paying off the other Copelands - who had not intended for the farm to be sold.

I had to decide whether to put this into my book. In my book, I have "conversations" with each of the Copelands. Ezra and I talk about his days as a wheat thresher and then he is grumpy when he asks if I am going to put in that stuff anyway, and that he's not going to talk about it. I do put it in, and his sister Clarissa explains the lawsuit and says that she forgave Ezra and took care of him to the end of his days. It was a good way to preserve the truth - because the Copelands could have lost the land entirely if Emery Copeland hadn't stepped up and bought the entire farm at the forced auction.

Emery's children George and Virginia still own the Copeland farm.

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Monday, March 1, 2010

Can You Yell at your Dead Relatives?

I set a goal to write a chapter a day for each of the 10 children of the Copeland family of Montgomery County, KS. Sometimes, I was on schedule; other times I got distracted, as when I got pictures of Arch's paintings from Melvin, got photos from new relatives Linda and Taina, got tintype scans of Samuel from Megan, and got leads on Beulah's children.

I have completed the chapters for Samuel, Austin, Clarissa, Epps, and Arch. Today I tackle my grandfather William Quincy Copeland.

I want to yell at him and at my Dad. Why?

I have issues with my Grandfather. Why did he have to leave Kansas? Why didn't he return to Kansas after his wife died? Why didn't he remarry? Why did he live such a hard life and make his remaining sons - my Dad and his brother Don - live that same hard life? Does he know what happened to all the family momentoes and 'treasures' that his wife Agnes brought from Kansas? And what happened to everything after he died?

I have issues with my Dad. Why didn't he ever tell me about his family? I asked him about a family tree and he only gave me his parents name. I heard from my Mom that there was an Uncle Arch and an Aunt Ivella, but nothing of his 9 other aunts and uncles! He had a chance to explain once, when my brother was born. One of his naming suggestions was Samuel Austin. He never said that those were the names of his uncles.

I am so mad! I don't know what I will write about. How silly to be mad at my Grandfather William who has been dead since 1955 and my father who has been dead since 1972!

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